Nunavik’s Raglan mine put into care and maintenance due to COVID-19
Workers heading home “until further notice”
The Raglan mine in Nunavik has announced that it will mothball its operations and send nearly all its workers home, as it goes into care and maintenance due to COVID-19 concerns.
“This is really unreal, and Raglan mine has never faced such a challenge in logistics and planning,” Amélie Rouleau, spokesperson for the Glencore Group-owned mine, said in an email on Tuesday, March 24.
“All our teams have been working non-stop to ensure a good transition towards care and maintenance and at the same time demobilize all our employees.”
The move came after an announcement from the Quebec government on Monday, March 23, which put all non-essential businesses in the province “on pause” until April 13.
This meant the Raglan mine, located between Salluit and Kangiqsujuaq, was ordered to stop operating for the next three weeks.
About 500 employees generally work at the mine on alternating shifts.
In 2018, about 22 per cent of the workers at Raglan came from Nunavik, the company said.
Raglan had previously announced that it was taking measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The mine had said that, starting on Monday, March 23, none of its off-site employees and contractors who are from Nunavik would return to Raglan, while its Nunavik workers currently at the mine site would return home over the next few days.
Rouleau said today that “until further notice” remaining work teams would be looking at transitioning the mine to care and maintenance.
“As you know, a demobilization of a site such as ours is not without its complexities. It will begin today and will take several days,” Rouleau said.
Workers will continue to receive their base salary, from the date they stopped work, for a maximum of three weeks, and pension and benefits coverage will continue through this period.
The situation will be re-evaluated after that, she said.
Meanwhile, Nunavik authorities have also announced that travel between Nunavik communities would no longer be allowed.
Quebec reports no cases of COVID-19 yet in Nunavik, but, province-wide, Santé Québec says there are more than 1,000 confirmed cases.